Instead, it was a "competitive game," a way for girls and boys to demonstrate their popularity.
In 1937, sociologist Willard Waller published a study in the .
It was not earned directly through talent, looks, personality or importance and involvement in organizations, but by the way these attributes translated into the number and frequency of dates.
By the late 1940s and early 1950s demographic realities began to sink in: There was a shortage of men.
After World War II, due in part to the fact that 250,000 men never came home, for the first time in the United States, women outnumbered men.
However, the most striking change in postwar courtship and dating was the ever-earlier age at which children and teenagers entered the courtship and dating system.
If the average age of first marriages was dropping (around age 18 for women and 20 for men) then the preparation for marriage — the shopping around, if you will — had to begin much earlier than that.